Students rushed to find the perfect seats as music played over the speakers in Bramlage Coliseum Tuesday night. As they waited for the competition to start, they passed the time with house chants, dancing in the aisles and group photos. Although the K-State cheerleaders, Classy Cats and Kansas State Marching Band drum line solicited cheers from the crowd, it was the student-coordinated dances that brought the crowd volume up.
The preparation for Wildcat Request Live began before All-University Homecoming week. Jordan Raymond, coordinator for Alpha Xi Delta’s WRL group and junior in interior design said, “We started as soon as the [theme] was released as Wildcat Wave. It was maybe a month ago.”
Although the overarching theme for the 2011 Homecoming is Wildcat Wave, pairings were able to interpret that into a more focused idea. At WRL there were pirates, mermaids, beach boys, sharks, sailors and even the “Baywatch” theme song.
“It was hard because we were trying to figure out a theme that not everyone would have. We tried to stray away from pirates and lifeguards because we figured that would be the most used,” Raymond said.
Alpha Xi used a 1940s, Pearl Harbor theme.
“The Sooners came and attacked the Wildcats and we went to war with them and won. The girls were basically the girlfriends or the wives of the boys who were in the Navy,” Raymond said.
During the practice time, pairings had to start slowly to ensure the steps were memorized correctly.
“The second time we met, we had a practice. We taught them a bulk of choreography and from there we practiced tricks,” Raymond said.
Payten Mobely, member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority and freshman in family studies said that there were tryouts for her group.
“We all went into a big room and we had to go across the floor and do turns and learn a combination. From there they chose who was in it,” Mobely said.
Many of the dancers in WRL have a dance background. Haley Bensel, member of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority and freshman in civil engineering, said she danced in high school and that is why she did WRL. “I love to dance and I wanted to do it college too,” she said.
Luke Fangman, president of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity and senior in civil engineering has spent four years participating in WRL.
“I wanted to lead by example and still show people that even in your fourth year you can stay extremely involoved in homecoming. The rush of doing things in front of 4,000 of your greek peers is pretty neat,” Fangman said.
Fangman said that he used to get nervous but he no longer does.
Amara Giersch, member of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority and sophomore in apparel and textiles said, “I was really scared at first but once we got down there I had a blast. It wasn’t as scary as I thought.”
WRL is the third major event during Homecoming week at K-State. During the part dance, part lip sync competition, homecoming pairings are judged on many different criteria. According to the Homecoming Handbook given to the greek pairings, there are four evenly divided categories.
“The judges were told to look for the maximum number of participants, the props the groups were allowed, that the dances were in good taste, that they were following the theme and that they weren’t [using] unsafe departures from the competitive area,” said Megan Sherlock, associate director of student programs for the K-State Alumni Association.
Another participant at WRL was fist-time judge Brad Hill, head coach for K-State Baseball. “It was fun. I didn’t have to say anything. I did K-State Idol about three years ago and it was really hard having to talk about the good and bad of the performance.”
Hill said he also enjoyed sitting back and judging. “I was looking for creativity,” Hill said. “Some of the uniforms and costumes they put together were pretty cool. It was good to see how many of them could stay together.”
Hill also said that even though he cannot dance himself, everyone looked like they were having fun.
Sherlock said that the main responsibility of her position is Homecoming.
“I think the hardest part was I started on Sept. 7 and it is only Oct. 25. It was a little challenging to make sure that I knew all the rules because it is a lot different from when I was in college,” Sherlock said.
She said that many of the rule changes dealt with stunting. “Some of the things we called ‘illegal’ this year is stunting. Mainly it’s safety for the participants.”
“I had a great time. WRL is one of my favorite competitions,” Sherlock said.
Each pairing will receive 20 points toward its participation in Homecoming and 75 points toward its total for first place. The winners for WRL will be announced on Friday at the pep rally.